October 5, 2021
Blurb: A Cinderella story like no other, Ardennia is a young adult historical fantasy that captures the magic, brutality and earthiness of the medieval age. This first book in a series chronicles the many adventures of Cinderella’s prince as he undergoes his baptism of fire in the Battle of Paris, is charmed by Cinderella at a masquerade ball, and sets off on a quest to find her after she flees the ball at the midnight hour. The quest takes him through strange lands supposedly inhabited by ogres, pixies, hobgoblins, man-eating plants and giants, and peopled by extraordinary characters that include an epileptic bard, a bean counter who wagers his gold tooth in a dice game, a merchant who can never be too prosperous, a little girl who has a running feud with three bears, pilgrims that argue over who is the most pious and a beggar who has been cursed with leprosy for committing all the cardinal sins. Be on the look-out for a bit of Chaucer-like satire in this adapted fairy tale.
Five Reasons to read Ardennia:
5. The ironic ending
4. The love affair between Cinderella’s stepmother and the hunchback
3. Sir Guy’s story of the elf and the troll
2. Queen Bernadette’s sagacity
1. Prince Henry’s tete-a-tetes with the 14 ladies who attended the ball
Ardennia is the first book in a series of chronicles of a truly charming young prince Henry. Henry is expected to be king in the event of his Father King Charles’ demise. Prince Henry is trained and educated to allow him to be a good and thoughtful King. Along with his royal princely duties Henry is required to marry to help unite Ardennia and Lorraine. However, a lucky turn of unfortunate circumstances enables our Prince Charming to follow his heart and travel across the land, with his friends and advisor, Sir Guy, in search of the owner of the glass slipper. They encounter many adventures involving everything from ogres to whispering pixies during the quest.
Bruce Calhoun’s take on the classic story of Cinderella is entertaining and enjoyable. With all the elements of a great fairy tale, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Prince Charming side of the story and found Bruce’s writing easy to slip into, which made Ardennia a quick fun read
I would recommend Ardennia and give it 5 stars.